Circular business models of washing machines in the Netherlands: Material and climate change implications toward 2050
Pablo Sigüenza, C.P.
Among European countries, The Netherlands is boosting the transformation to a circular economy creat- ing and deploying circular business models across different sectors, including the home appliances sector. Although in recent years shared access-based business models have attracted the attention of the scien- tific community from a sustainability perspective, a very different family of circular business models are in fact being deployed in other markets and have not yet been studied from a sustainability perspective. These circular business models are product lease and pay-per-use, which are now offered by more than ten companies in the Dutch market. However, whether these business models represent environmental and material benefits is still in question. In this article, we apply a dynamic life cycle assessment mod- elling framework to study the material use and climate change impact implications of the long-term and potentially large-scale adoption of these two circular business models in the Dutch market of washing machines towards 2050, considering the energy transition of three regions: The Dutch, European, and global regions. Of nine scenarios modelled, the large scale and quick adoption of product leasing will represent the largest material use benefits, followed by the pay-per-wash model, both comparable to the material benefits obtained by other well studied shared-access business models. In climate change impact mitigation, the benefits of the circular business models are dwarfed by the benefits of a decar- bonized electricity. Yet, with a successful energy transition, we could expect a re-prioritization of the life cycle of energy intensive appliances regarding climate change impacts in the future, from the use phase to the use and production phase, equally.
Circular business models
To reference this document use:
Product service systems
Life cycle assessment
Material flow assessment
Sustainable Production and Consumption, 26 (26), 1084-1098